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Visualizing the COVID Surge: How Many Can Fit in a Sports Arena?

Here are familiar scenarios.
by Ara Eugenio
Just now
Photo/s: Jerome Ascaño

The Philippines on Monday marked another grim milestone as it reverted back to ECQ, the strictest form of lockdown: a record-high 10,016 new COVID cases in a single day which brought the total active cases to 115, 495. 

Since March 22, when the greater Manila area was first placed in a quarantine bubble, a cumulative number of 68,519 new cases were recorded. Since the pandemic, 731,894 Filipinos have been infected with SARS-CoV-2, of which, 13,286 died. 

These numbers alone are painful to think about, moreso picture. To help you envision them more, here are pre-COVID scenarios you might be familiar with. 

10,016 new COVID cases equals a full-house PhilSports Arena. 

More popularly known as Ultra, the Pasig-based arena can only house up to 10,000 sports fans at full capacity. That means with the total new cases, there are 16 people that would be left unhoused. It would be much more if physical distancing were enforced, meaning at least half would be shut out.

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Jerome Ascaño

115,495 active cases is like a filled up MOA Arena six times over. 

The Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay has a seating capacity of 15,000. During concerts or sports events, it can house up to 20,000 people. 

For it to fit the total COVID-19 active cases, five more MOA arenas are needed.

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Jerome Ascaño

60,500 new COVID cases in just a week means a full Philippine Arena, with more space still needed. 

The Philippine Arena in Sta. Maria, Bulacan is famed for being the world's largest indoor arena with a 55,000 capacity. The opening of the 30th Sea Games was held there in 2019, as pictured below. 

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In just seven days, the Philippines recorded 60,500 more COVID cases. To house them all, the Philippine Arena would need more space to cover the 5,500 people it can no longer accomodate. 

Jerome Ascaño

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The Philippines' total number of COVID-19 cases since the pandemic can equal the number of vehicles that pass by a bustling EDSA in 2 days. 

In 2017, 367,728 vehicles were reported to have passed by traffic dense EDSA on average. Multiplying that number twice would get 735,456, which is only 3,562 more than the total number of COVID cases which is at 731,894 as of March 29. 


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13,286 deaths is like losing a huge chunk of a UAAP game's audience if it were held in Araneta.

Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City has a full capacity of 16,500. The COVID death toll of 13,286 would be like losing that many audience of a full-house UAAP finals game. 

Jerome Ascano


These figures mostly assume each case counts for a unique individual in each scenario. In reality, COVID reinfections happen, which means the total number of cases also include those cases. 

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Moreover, these figures do not include deaths that may have been related to the virus, but due to limited testing available especially during the start of the pandemic, they ended up not being counted in the statistics.

But most of all, no matter how big these numbers get, the loss of one human life is already one too many for this pandemic. 

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